Dozens of Kern County kings and queens, replete in suits and gowns, will have their Night to Shine at a red carpet affair next month.
The Tim Tebow Foundation has invited local teens and young adults with special needs to a prom it calls Night to Shine.
Kern County firefighter Brian Conlee saw a video from a similar event in another city last year and decided to bring it to Bakersfield. He felt teens and young adults with special needs are often, as he said, "overlooked" — especially when it comes to events such as prom.
"They want to dance. They want to have fun. They want to get a corsage or boutonnière," Conlee said.
So, he decided to get in contact with the foundation to bring the event to Kern County.
"I think all the kids deserve something like that," said Conlee.
Over the past seven months, Conlee has been working as a part-time event coordinator, trying to make the magical night happen. Since he began the planning process, he has raised about $30,000 in funds, food and gift donations.
He has booked limos and photographers for the guests and has even managed to get his hands on a red carpet for guests to make a grand entrance. Of course, a red carpet isn't complete without paparazzi, so guests can expect eager photographers as well.
Guests need not have dates.
Just like most proms, the event will be a night of dancing, but dinner will also be supplied by Chick-fil-A. There will also be a karaoke room and a photo booth, along with a shoe shining station and a hair and makeup station for the ladies.
One guest who is planning on attending the event, expressed excitement about the prom and all that it will feature.
"I want to experience it. I want to experience dancing with everybody," said the girl, who identified herself only as Ariel, in a video posted on Facebook. "I want to meet everybody that goes there. I just want to go and have fun and live life and mingle with people."
In the video Ariel talks about how her siblings got to go to their proms. Now it's her turn to dance the night away.
The evening will end with every guest being crowned king and queen, and everyone will go home with a gift bag.
Making the night happen has been tough, Conlee said, but then he has high standards. He wants it to be perfect.
"It's been a lot of work, but it's worth it," he said.
"I hope they have an awesome night. I want them to know that they are loved and appreciated," he said. "They are not defined by their disability."
The prom event is for guests 14 and older. Conlee has just 130 spots left, he said.
If you or someone you know might be interested in attending the free event, head to crossroadsbakersfield.com to register. The worldwide event takes place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 9 at Crossroads Christian Fellowship Church, 2500 Fairfax Road.
According to the foundation's website, 540 churches from around the world will come together to host a Night to Shine event for approximately 90,000 honored guests through the support of 175,000 volunteers.
Conlee said 400 volunteers have signed up to assist the night of the Kern County event, and each volunteer must have a background check. Parents are welcome to attend the event too — in a separate room.